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Findings from around the Internet.

 

“Your idols will look different in their suits and ties — their trophies and plaques will be scars and bullet wounds, stretch marks and missing teeth, the smiles that make you uncomfortable”

December 4, 2014

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For freedom may mean that the alienated, the mis-educated, the thugs, the orphans will be your equals. Your sweat, your readings, your struggle proves you are human, but to the white man it will mean less. The education I received surviving outside of whiteness will mean more. The bodies of the dead around me will be remembered and you will love them, not “loved” them in the past tense. We do not know Marx, Black bourgeois theories or savings accounts. But we have survived the gun battles, hiding our children from police and gangsters. Your idols will look different in their suits and ties — their trophies and plaques will be scars and bullet wounds, stretch marks and missing teeth, the smiles that make you uncomfortable. They will all be real. That is the freedom I am looking for.

Read more | “The Lumpen Blacks” | Messiah Rhodes | Youngist

 

“Kayla from Bleed the Pigs is too aggressive and angry”

December 2, 2014

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The eye-rolling irony that I’m still cast aside as the Angry Black Woman in a scene that is made up of nothing but angry, pissed off, cast aside white men who sometimes use my own struggles for their own benefit isn’t lost on me. People are wary of that which they do not know, and one of those things is an unapologetic Black girl voicing herself. So, yes, I’m angry as fuck about a lot of things. I carry it with me just to survive sometimes. You absolutely don’t have to like the music I make, or what I sing about, but if you find yourself upset by my level of anger, and not the white guy saying something similar, I’m not going to be complacent and sugarcoat my frustration for you. It’s unfortunate that my seemingly like-minded peers can’t find it in themselves to actually look at the reasons why race continues to play a part in our daily lives due to its disproportionate presence and history, instead of trying to be louder than the ones affected by it.

Read more | “What Do Hardcore, Ferguson, and the “Angry Black Woman” Trope All Have in Common?” | Kayla Phillips | Noisey

 

“You have a Wilberforce University Faculty ID and 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot dead by police for holding a BB gun.”

December 1, 2014

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I didn’t expect to see my student Orion, a black boy from Boston, sitting palms down on the sidewalk in front of a police car a few Thursdays ago on my way from the gym. I got in the face of the two interrogating officers telling them, “He didn’t do nothing” and “Leave my student the fuck alone,” when I found out he was being accused of trying to steal a security golf cart.

I didn’t expect the same two security guards who’d stopped me for walking in front of the President’s house to tell the officers interrogating Orion that the golf cart was theirs and Orion was “a good kid, a Vassar student” who was just going to get a slice of pizza.

By the time one of the heads of Vassar security, in the presence of the current Dean of the College, told one of my colleagues and me that there was “no racial profiling on campus” and that we were making the black and brown students say there was, I expected almost everything.

I expected that four teenage black boys from Poughkeepsie would have security called on them for making too much noise in the library one Sunday afternoon. I expected security to call Poughkeepsie police on these 15 and 16-year-olds when a few of them couldn’t produce an ID. I expected police to drive on the lawn in front of the library, making a spectacle of these black boys’ perceived guilt.

A few days after Vassar called police on those children, a police officer visited one of the boys while he was in class and questioned him about some stolen cell phones and iPods at Vassar. When the kid said he didn’t know anything about any stolen cell phones, the officer told the 15-year-old black child, who might have applied to Vassar in three years, to never go back to Vassar College again.

I didn’t expect that.

Read more | “My Vassar College Faculty ID Makes Everything OK” | Kiese Laymon | Gawker

 

“Nothing is purely spontaneous when the people have been self-organizing for 100s of years”

November 28, 2014

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A chant I heard over and over again throughout the protests is ‘black lives matter’. The slogan seems to be a rallying cry for this movement of solidarity with Mike Brown against white supremacy. Historically slogans have been important reflections of politics to inspire the people. The Black Panther Party said ‘All power to the people’ (Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, Poor, Womyn, Queer). To me that slogan reflected a radical politic that claimed the source of political power comes from the people; not bourgeois political parties and the police thugs who protect their money and hustle. The Black Panther Party and Black Power movement was also a youth movement. Radical struggles have always sprung from the youth. If our struggles are not centering the visions and actions of the youth then our struggles will lead to nowhere. There are a lot of non-profits that engage with young Black and Brown people and even seek to talk about ‘social justice’ and ‘activism’ but this work often stifles the movement of the youth narrowing it into the fields of education and assimilation, rather into freedom fighters. Outkast said it best, ‘youth full of fire and got nowhere to go’. The non-profitization of parts of the bay area left seeks to take out the fire of the youth and militant struggle, but young people see through these contradictions too. Especially young Black and Brown youth, who know what its like to not have political and social power within this white supremacist system; who see through the contradictions of the amerikkkan dream denied to them. The youth of Oakland have always represented in the streets and I’m proud to struggle alongside them.

So when we claim Black lives matter, who are we really talking to? I don’t need to tell another Black or Brown brother and sister that our lives matter. We know that. We are committed to that. Because if we weren’t committed to it then how would we have been able to survive and continue to survive genocide all these years? Through valuing ourselves in a system that doesn’t value life at all, let alone Black and Native life. We are alienated and isolated, but we are also strong and build our communities up out of nothing, and still have enough energy to take to the streets and resist. Our lives matter so how do we fight back against a system of genocide? We do not need to plea with the slave masters to recognize our humanity. These politics and tactics have come up time and time again during social upheavals against white supremacy and state violence. I saw it during Oscar grant struggles when some folks were pushing police reform. I ask what would Harriet Tubman do? What would Nat Turner do? Certainly not ask the slave master for freedom. We take it. It’s time we start valuing each other enough to struggle for one another so that we may live for one another. We do not need to convince the slaveholding system of shit. But with the legalist and reformist strategies also comes a certain policing of militants by ‘activists’ in the streets. Unfortunately a lot of times this policing comes from more liberal or non-profitized folks of color, who want to keep things non-violent. For me as a Black womyn this policing takes away my agency to get turnt up in the streets, which I need to do, because that is healing too. Black people aren’t just victims of white supremacy, we also fight back and rage against the system too. Always. And it isn’t just White people or ‘outside agitators’ breaking stuff. These claims disempower our people.

On monday night during the march I got in between these womyn of color, who were attempting to snatch a bandanna off this white boys face, who had attempted (and failed) to break some stuff. They yelled at him for taking up space in an event for Black people. Used the same condescending arguments that it will be Black people, who are arrested first (as if Black people aren’t also expressing a certain dignified rage in the streets). Then they demanded he show his face. I jumped between them then so they yelled at me too. I said I feel the arguments around White boys and space, but still, we can’t be snitches…they didn’t get it. A few hours later I smiled in a sea of fire and broken glass as I saw Black faces loot back. It made me think of those womyn from earlier and my peoples who fear these tactics, who want to contain some sense of ‘peace’ In the streets. Peace for what? Whose streets are these? Whose banks are these? Why are we more concerned about keeping the peace towards private property we don’t own, rather then letting people do their thing in the streets? And policing tactics in the name of protecting Black people and our vulnerability to the state? We don’t need that. We’ve been smashing against this private property thang since our ancestors burned down plantations. Monday and Tuesday night in Oakland, CA was no different and we should be proud of that.

Read More | “break the laws/break the chains” | chakaZ | Kissing in the dark…

 

“there’s actually more women than men”

November 27, 2014

Over the months, he said, the protests have become a “women-led movement. … They’re stronger, smarter, sober. A lot of guys are saying, ‘I can’t be up there [on the front lines], because I’ve got warrants.’ The women don’t make excuses.”

Yet television images tend to give an outsized role to men, said Brianna Richardson, 27, a University City resident who used to live in Ferguson and has lately been drawing inspiration from the autobiography of the radical Black Panther activist and fugitive Assata Shakur.

“What you see on the ground and what you see on the news is two completely different pictures,” Richardson said. “You’d think this is all about men, giving all these speeches, having all these ideas. When you’re there, you see women have a more prominent role.”

In her activism, Richardson said she brings up black women and girls throughout the nation who have been killed by police.

“When it comes to being a black woman, you deal with the oppression of both race and gender,” Richardson said. “You can’t turn one off. I will always be black and a woman. … Black lives matter, trans lives matter, women’s lives matter. I’m standing for all of black lives.”

Read More | “Women find their voice in Ferguson protest movement” | Matt Pearce | LA Times